Sales culture plays a pivotal role in an organization’s success. This blog will share a compelling story demonstrating the importance of aligning hiring practices with one of the four defined sales cultures.
We knew a ruthless sales rep for identifying, pitching, and closing leads. He would never share a lead or help another rep.
Maybe we’re being a little too kind here. Okay, this guy would have yanked a little old lady out of a lifeboat on the Titanic to take her place. His numbers were good, so senior management wasn’t willing to address his (lack of) teamwork.
The day came when he was laid up with a broken leg for a few weeks, and he contacted the other sales team members to cover for him. Of course, they all said, “No.”
An interesting question is how did that person slip through the hiring/screening process? We guess the company considered the person’s sales results, and his genuine nature didn’t come through in interviews. The darker possibility is they knew exactly who and what he was – and he was a perfect fit for their sales culture. This would also explain why there wasn’t a single sales rep who would come to his aid.
Importance of sales culture in organizations
Every culture is different. Like the example we started with, is your culture a place where everybody is mercenary and it’s every salesperson for themselves? Or is it a culture of collaboration where everyone works as a team? And what, exactly, does “working as a team” mean in your organization?
In today’s competitive business landscape, cultivating a solid organizational sales culture has become crucial for long-term success. A robust sales culture not only drives revenue growth and fosters a sense of camaraderie among team members, but it also empowers employees to take ownership of their roles and work towards shared goals. Emphasizing the importance of sales culture, businesses can unlock the full potential of their sales force, ultimately resulting in increased customer satisfaction, loyalty, and sustainable growth.
According to Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends study, eighty-seven percent of organizations identify culture and engagement as one of their top challenges. Company sales cultures come in four primary flavors:
In a competitive culture, the company’s heartbeat is a personal achievement. These companies (think Microsoft or Oracle) celebrate folks with a “killer instinct.” The culture encourages competition and rewards individual achievement rather than team accomplishments. Sales are indeed king in this environment.
An organization with a controlling culture will focus on order and alignment around goals and objectives. These companies (think AT&T or IBM) will emphasize a scripted process. In these companies, all power resides in the executive suite. Some folks refer to their environment as “the sales prevention department.” Sales teams need persistence, precision, top-notch diplomacy skills, and patience to thrive. But the rewards can be well worth it, especially for success and longevity.
For companies with a creative corporate culture, the core value is self-expression—these companies like “thinking outside the box” and encouraging and rewarding problem-solving skills. Visionaries often lead these types of cultures (think Apple or Google).
Creative corporate cultures embrace change. Sales teams must be very adaptive.
Companies with collaborative cultures value teamwork (think Quicken Loans, or Salesforce.com, with its close-knit ecosystem of employees, customers, and partners). Top leadership encourages shared decision-making, and top management may take a long time to make decisions. These companies promote long-lasting customer relationships. Sales are often focused on customer retention and new business development.
So what, exactly, is your company’s sales culture, and how do you know if your process for hiring salespeople is broken?
Choosing the Right Sales Culture for Your Organization
Choosing the right sales culture for your organization is essential for unlocking growth and success. By aligning your sales culture with your company’s values and goals, you can effectively harness the power of your sales team, driving increased revenue, customer satisfaction, and employee engagement.
Recognizing the importance of sales culture and selecting the right flavor that aligns with your organization’s values and goals is essential for success and growth. Fostering the most suitable sales culture can motivate your sales force, increase revenue, and ensure sustainable business performance.